What causes "hot 'S's".......

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Richard_s, Apr 5, 2002.

  1. Richard_s

    Richard_s Second Unit

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    Many of you helped me with excellent information on bookshelf speakers which I auditioned. I ultimately chose the JBL N26 for the two fronts and the N-center for the center. Will get a sony sa-wm40 as soon as someone local gets them in stock.
    First let me say that what I was trying to acheive is improving the midrange performance over my Bose am-7's and the JBL setup that I have does this exceptionally well. Music is outstanding especially instrumentals. Crisp clear and fills the room with excellent imaging on center (stereo mode only for the music). Just what I wanted.
    Voice is quite good but the N26's and the N-center exhibit a mild and moderately anoying "hot'S's" issue. The odd thing is that the N24's that I tested in my house before buying the N26's had absolutely no "hot'S's at all. It is there with vocals and TV news and shows both female and some male dialogue.
    My question What causes "hot'S's is to try to understand how I might be able to reduce the "hot'S'" for dialog and vocals other than getting different speakers. A few comments from previous posts not sure if they apply to the "hot'S's" issue:
     
  2. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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  3. Richard_s

    Richard_s Second Unit

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    Phil:

    Its not just TV (digital cable downconverted to L&R audio hooked driectly to receiver) I get it with some CD's also but they could be poor quality and I just never had the ability before to hear the imperfections. I will have to rent a DVD to do what you recommend I did not think of the possibility that it may be source related.

    Which DVD would be the best one to use to convince myself that the "hot'S's" are source related, in your opinion, I will rent it this weekend.

    Thanks again.
     
  4. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    The most revealing right now is Diana Kralls - Live in Paris DVD, just released last Tuesday, which in some songs, she stresses the 'ssss'.

    The DD/DTS 5.1 Mix is outstanding, and she is closely mic'd so you can hear her entire spoken/singing vocal range, from a low whisper, including breathing, up to her upper vocal limits. Her vocal interpertation is so intimate and revealing in this DVD that you'll get that 'sounds live', 'like in your living room' illusion while she performs all her Jazz songs! Clearly a REFERENCE Audio DD/DTS 5.1 DVD!

    Another one in the Movie realm is "Legally Blond" w/Reese Weatherspoon, all her dialog would be a good tests.

    It's usually the womens voices that easily modulates & stresses the 'sss' in verbs, adverbs, nouns and pronouns.

    Keep us posted on what you discover after sampling some DVD's,

    Phil
     
  5. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    You are hearing more high frequency information than you are used to. Your previous speakers had poor high frequency response so the new ones (which have a much flatter response) sound bright to you. This will fade as you get used to them (some call it "breaking in the speakers", I call it getting used to the sound). The other issue could be your listening environment. Room acoustics plays a huge role is total system sound (as important as speakers). If you room is full of hard surfaces, the high frequencies will reflect off the walls to the listener (not good). Throw rugs, plants, & bookshelves at the areas of first reflection will help to dampen this effect. (too much dampening isn't good either)
     
  6. Mark Larson

    Mark Larson Supporting Actor

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    I used to have this with "Teardrop" by Massive Attack... On my new system it sounds PERFECT!!! [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Maybe it's this...
     
  7. Richard_s

    Richard_s Second Unit

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    Greg:

    Definitely what you said is part of it I hear instruments now that were non existent before due to the mid and high frequency capability being significantly improved. The overall sound to me is still quite astounding.

    Phil:

    I'm not a jazz enthusiast so although probably a great test, buying the Dianna Kralls is kind of expensive maybe they rent it so I will give a look. Also I don't have a DD5.1 receiver yet so all I have is DPL, stereo only mode and a few DSP like Jazz, church, Hall..

    I did try my over the airwave (antenna) FM and that does not exhibit the "hot'S's" sound at all. I have a few DVD movies I'll give them a try but they are nothing special.
     
  8. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Well, the hot Ssss's (or sibilance) can be caused by a number of factors, including recording methods such as mic placement and EQ, and playback gremlins such as very narrow-bandwidth frequency humps and just the plain greater resolution of more modern sound sources. The N26 might have a slight EQ hump due to a different design than the N24. This could snowball into room nodes and even the condition of your ears when you noticed it. Were the N24s that you auditioned a brand-new set or were they a demo model? If they were demos, then it's likely that the tweeter was just broken-in. Brand new drivers have a stiffness to them that disappears over time as the driver moves and loosens up. In a tweeter, that stiffness would be perceived as a slight shrillness, due to the tweeter vibrating more rapidly in its limited-movement state.

    If you really wanted to remove the sibilance, you could sidechain an EQ to a compressor to make a de-esser. Alternately, you could just give your speakers a few weeks and see if break-in (both speaker and you) will solve the problem.
     
  9. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Screenwriter

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    Using "Dead Can Dance" CD's, I was comparing differences between my JVC '60 DVD player, and my NAD C541 CD player. I noticed much harsh sibilance with the dvd player, which went away on the NAD. So I'd say equipment can be a factor.

    Martin.
     
  10. Richard_s

    Richard_s Second Unit

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    sibilance sibilance sibilance can't seem to remember that thanks.

    Tim:

    The N24's were brand new and the sibilance was not present.

     
  11. Steve WC

    Steve WC Stunt Coordinator

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    It could have something to do with the titanium tweeter.

    I have a pair of Axiom m40's that also seem to have hot S's

    and have done a search on this forum which gave me many threads concerning the characteristics of metal drivers.

    It could be the metal tweeter in combination with your other gear.

    Steve
     
  12. Allen F

    Allen F Extra

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    Sometimes it can be caused by a lousy cable tv signal. For example, right now, channel 10 through my cable exhibits this phenomenon when listening through just the tv speakers. Other channels don't. I've heard this problem on old speakers whose cones were deteriorating, also.

    Allen
     
  13. James Bergeron

    James Bergeron Supporting Actor

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    Could also be a function of the speaker / room. I know that in Coyote Ugly there was a scene which hard S's throughout and it just drove me nuts (ND310's with N-Centre) I watched that scene agwin with my B&W 303's and they are gone. So what I thought was the recording couldn't have been. Could have also been a function of receiver / speaker combo.

    I just picked up the Diana Krall DVD today WOW does sound awesome but honestly I think the 2.0 track sounds much better (although a little bass heavy), I think I'm still a 2 channel lover.
     
  14. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    To make a de-esser you will need a good pro-quality compressor with sidechain ins and outs. Most comps have these. I recommend the FMR Audio Really Nice Compressor and the Behringer Composer series for transparency. Please note that for stereo material you will need two channels of compression and EQ.
    You have to hook us this scheme between your source and power amp. Run the source into the compressor and out from the compressor to your receiver or amp. The EQ will be plugged into the sidechain ins and outs of the compressor. On the EQ, you will want to BOOST the offending frequencies. This will cause the compressor to clamp down on those frequencies, reducing the output of those frequencies only. If you try this, set the compressor for a fast attack time and a moderately slow release. Play around with the compression ratio until you find the amount that works best for you. The above technique works pretty well with graphic EQs, but for pinpoint control of sibilance I would recommend a good parametric. Oh, and you'll also need some RCA to 1/4" adaptors, since most compressors use 1/4".
    Now that I think about it, I've got a spare comp and a spare 2-channel EQ left over from my recent PA upgrade. I think I'll try some evil sonic tricks with my HT tonight[​IMG]
    Now for the warning: The other posters all have valid points. Any number of things could be causing the sibilance, from different tweeters to TV transmission to the cables you are using to your audio gear. Making a de-esser can solve the problem, but it's gonna cost you at least $200 for the required equipment.
     
  15. Russell _T

    Russell _T Supporting Actor

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    It could just be your metal tweeter breaking up in higher end.
     
  16. Richard_s

    Richard_s Second Unit

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    Tim:

    Are there any receivers that have the ability that you talk about built in. I am planning to replace my aging receiver real soon. Maybe it would be cheaper if I got a new reciever with a built in EQ. If I new the frequency band that causes this sibilance could I just make a narrow band "notch filter" with adjustable attenuation and tune it out. Just a thought. BTW it seems to be getting better as the speakers break in. Tomorrow I will try the CD again that had the most prominant siblance and see if it has improved.
     
  17. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Richard, there are no receivers that I know of that have actual de-essing built in. It's mainly a production technique. A receiver that has the "Cinema Re-EQ" feature, which is basically a treble rolloff, would tame some of the sibilance but would also affect treble on anything else.

    If you are noticing a difference in your system after only a few days, I would suggest giving it a few weeks more, and see if time solves your problem. After all, it's a lot cheaper!
     
  18. Eric Sevigny

    Eric Sevigny Stunt Coordinator

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    My Yamaha RXV-800 has a built in miny-equalizer for the center channel only. It worked well when sibilance was an issue in my last Paradigm Monitor setup. Although, I eventually put coton over the tweeter of the center channel because I coudln't take it anymore. That's when I realized the Paradigms weren't for me [​IMG]
    Something else I can recommend is using external filters like the Ah! Noise killers (50$ for the pair at upscale audio). It did cut a lot of the sibilance and brighness out of my Paradigm Monitor 3v2s.
    Those are really bandaid measures, I would look at trying out other speakers or amplification see if the problem goes away. It did for me when I changed speakers.
     
  19. Richard_s

    Richard_s Second Unit

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    Eric:

    Was curious about the noise killers from upscale Audio but could not find the information (part number etc). Would appreciate a link. May be worth $50 (was not sure if that was CD or US dollars). Not sure how they hook in but maybe I can set things up so I only "switch" them in when I need them. Since I am planning to get a new amplifier I will do that first and see if that helps but I think this will not change things so at that point I might try the "bandaid"

    Thanks.

    One thing I find odd is that if I set my amplifier treble to -8db which has a rolloff starting at 10khz this seemed to have no effect. Don't understand this one.

    Except for the sibilance which is only moderate but obvious the overall sound from these speakers is just outstanding. Given that they were only $249 I will take a chance that I can live with the level of sibilance that I hear. I have been running the speakers now quite a bit so I put the CD on that accentuates the sibilance and I guess I would have to conclude that it has not changed yet. It seems to me for me to get the reproduction of some of the instruments if I get a set of speakers that are not as "bright" as these then that will be compromised so that is a dilemna.

    It is possible that as others have said these speakers have high frequency capability that was missing in my old BOSE setup and I just need to get used to this inproved high frequency capability. Since I hear the "sibilance" on male and female news as well as some male and female vocals that maybe what I hear is normal and not what one one concider sibilence.
     
  20. Eric Sevigny

    Eric Sevigny Stunt Coordinator

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    -Richard_s
    The Ah! LS Noise Killers are 50USD, here is the link:
    Upscale Audio : Ah! LS Noise Killers
    They are very simple to hook up, just insert the two leads into your speakers connectors, they aren't + or - sensitive so any lead goes into any connector.
     

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